December 18th, 2013 No Comments   Posted in interview, Robert Kiyosaki

“Pretty soon the government has to start printing in mass. They’re only printing a trillion a year right now, but they will start printing more because, very simply, they can’t handle Social Security, Medicare…If they stiff those people, we’ll have anarchy.”

Unfortunately, Robert Kiyosaki’s view of the future of America is bleak. He believes that within the next five years, the entire system will collapse, ushering in a period of American chaos and poverty the likes of which have never been seen in the Land of the Free.

“I think the biggest thing I can warn people is this, from my indication, the people in the stock market – the guys with 401(k)’s, and IRA’s full of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, they’re the next target; they’re going to get wiped out. The last target was 2007 and it was the homeowners. Now, they’re going to get the retirement plans.”






Rich Dad, Poor Dad’ forces reader to think proactively about finance

December 16th, 2013 No Comments   Posted in Robert Kiyosaki

Kiyosaki begins “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” with the story of his two dads. One had a Ph.D. and made a good living, but he found himself always short of money and died penniless. Kiyosaki’s other dad dropped out of school at age 13 and went on to become one of the wealthiest men in Hawaii.

Both dads had a lot to teach Kiyosaki about how to approach money, and throughout the book, he uses them as an example to illustrate how, in his terms, rich and poor people think.

In “Rich Dad, Poor Dad,” Kiyosaki says that most people let their emotions motivate their actions, and that it is an emotional driving force that sends them to work every day. He uses the term “poor,” regardless of how much money people have, because it is never enough, making poverty more a frame of mind than how much one has in his or her bank account.

Kiyosaki explains that rich people, on the other hand, are less likely to allow their emotions motivate their actions, which enables them to think before reacting out of fear. It is how people approach money that makes them rich or poor, and it is the goal of “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” to make everyone rich.

One way Kiyosaki did this personally was by quitting his well-paying job at Standard Oil to join the Marine Corps. By overcoming his fear of not having enough money, he was able to learn leadership and management skills that have since proven invaluable. If it hadn’t been for his rich father, Kiyosaki says he wouldn’t have had the foresight and courage to do it.

Another difference he points out is that middle-class people work for money and wealthy people have their money work for them.

I’ve noticed this in my own life, as I tend to spend money on temporary items rather than use it to make money. Instead of buying something I will only use short-term, I could instead invest my money and use it to make more.

For instance, instead of saving for a temporary item like a new jacket, Kiyosaki says I should invest in financial instruments such as stocks, bonds, mutual funds and real estate, where it has the potential to earn me more money. Kiyosaki points out that I could work the same amount yet earn enough to buy a jacket every time my investment earns enough, or I could use those funds to continue making money.

For those who are afraid of investing, Kiyosaki says the more knowledge you have about your investment, the less risky it becomes. This opens you up to more potential investments besides low-risk stocks.

Reading “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” has convinced me that I have succumbed to the mentality of working for money, and in the long run, it’s not going to get very far financially. Instead, Kiyosaki has made me realize that dealing with money isn’t as intimidating as I thought and that the more I learn, the easier it is for me to take control of my finances.

Between Kiyosaki’s two-dad analogy and writing style, this is a very easy read that packs a lot of information into less than 200 pages. Don’t expect a get-rich-quick book, but if you want to reevaluate your approach toward money and start creating a stronger financial future, this is definitely a great start.

Top 5 Best and Worst Ways to Raise Holiday Cash

December 14th, 2013 No Comments   Posted in credit card, Debt, Personal Finance

The holidays can strain a family’s tight budget and add financial worries. If you need to raise some cash to help bridge the gap until your next payday or until the holidays are over, the BBB has a list of the top five best and worst ways to raise quick cash.

Worst Ways:

Title loans. A title loan is secured by placing a lien on your vehicle’s title. If you don’t make the payments, the lender will repossess your car, leaving you in a much worse financial situation. Title loans are illegal in N.C., but not in S.C. “This is the worst possible way to raise cash,” said BBB President Tom Bartholomy. “Losing your car could be financially devastating.”

Advance fee loans. There are many unscrupulous lenders who guarantee they can get you a loan if you pay an advance fee as collateral or insurance on the loan because you have bad credit. “You will be instructed to wire the advance fee to another country or pay the fees with a pre-paid debit card,” said Bartholomy, “and then you will not get the loan.” Advance fee loans are illegal in N.C., but not in S.C.

Payday loans. A payday loan is a short term loan with a very high interest rate that you pay back on your next payday by giving the lender a post-dated check. This starts a vicious cycle of spending your paycheck before you earn it, and it takes people on average eight months to break free of payday loans. Payday loans are illegal in N.C., but not in S.C. “Payday loans are also widely available online,” said Bartholomy, “but the BBB has received hundreds of complaints from consumers about aggressive and illegal collection practices by online payday lenders.”

Credit card cash advances. Cash advances from your credit cards are very expensive. You will not only pay interest that may approach 36 percent, but you will also pay cash advance fees.

Pawning valuables. A pawn shop will loan you about 25 percent of what the item is worth and you have to pay that amount back with interest, usually within 30 days or the pawn shop will sell the item you pawned. “Never pawn something that you would hate to lose,” added Bartholomy.

Best Ways:

1. Sell stuff. Those collectibles you have: beanie babies, baseball cards, autographed memorabilia, or Christmas villages, may be worth some money. Check out eBay or Craigslist to see what you can sell!

2. Have a garage or yard sale. It’s quick, easy and inexpensive.

3. Sell your gold or silver jewelry. Most local jewelry stores buy gold, silver and coins. Be sure to find out how much you will get before you commit to selling.

4. Free-lance. Are you a good writer? Web designer? Photographer? Market your skills as a free-lance worker and earn some extra money on the side.

5. Work part-time or get a seasonal job. Why not get a part-time job at your favorite store? You can make extra money and get an employee discount. Start looking for seasonal jobs early.

How To Give Financial Advice As Gift

December 12th, 2013 No Comments   Posted in Personal Finance

With the holidays approaching, it seems we’re all in a mad dash to our favorite retailers.  Between figuring out what to buy for those on our list, to buying the gifts, and then wrapping them, there’s no time to enjoy the holidays.  And on top of that, how many gifts will we buy that end up at the bottom of some closet, only to be found when we appear on an episode of Hoarders?

Instead of maxing out our credit cards this holiday season, why not give a different kind of gift.  I have in mind the gift of financial advice.  And here are 5 ways to give it that your friends and family just may enjoy.

  1. Company Stock:  Buying a single share of stock in a company is an ideal gift for young children.  While they may not fully appreciate the gift immediately, over time they will.  Had you bought a single share of Apple 15 years ago, that $1 investment would be worth over $500 today.  What a great way to teach a teenager about the value of long-term investing
  2.  A Game:  One of my favorite games is called The Settlers of Catan.  It’s a strategy game that’s easy to learn and fun to play. And it requires players to formulate strategies, make investments, and take risks.  It’s a great way to teach children about business and life, without letting on that they are actually learning something.
  3.  A Book:  While you have to be a bit careful here, there are some friends and family members that could benefit from certain personal finance books.  We all know somebody struggling to get out of credit card debt or save more for retirement.  Two books I highly recommend are Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover and Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You to Be Rich.  Both are excellent books that can really help folks get back on the road to financial freedom.
  4. An Hour:  Some folks just need help getting their finances organized.  Whether it’s helping them prepare a monthly budget, organizing their financial papers, or perhaps developing a strategy to get out of credit card debt, an hour of your time may go a long way.  We have friends that have helped a lot of people get their finances on track, and we’ve helped friends with their tax returns from time to time.  Sometimes, all folks really need is a helping hand.
  5.  A Savings Account:  For young children and teenagers, one of the best gifts to help them set up an account at an online bank. These accounts make it easy to save and pay higher interest rates than traditional banks.  But the best benefit is that children can watch as their money grows.  As a result, they can see firsthand the benefits of saving.

The above are just a few ideas.  If you know of other ways to give financial advice as a gift this holiday season, please share your ideas in the comments below.

How To Avoid Going Into Debt For The Holidays

December 10th, 2013 No Comments   Posted in Personal Finance


One of the easiest ways to limit the chances of going in debt is to plan your purchases.

Did you know that 80% of impulse purchases are made because consumers perceive value when the item is on sale. Why do you think retailers have sales around the holidays? Because research tells them that you are more likely to spend more when the item has a big red sign that shows how much money you will save if you make the purchase. I always have to chuckle to myself when the grocery store cashier tells me how much money I saved and even circles it on my receipt! In case you were wondering, every time you go to the store and spend money you are NOT saving money. Saving money involves 1) not spending money and 2) moving the money to a savings account or investment with the intent not to spend it. Leaving the money in your checking account only to spend it later does not count as saving money as retailers would have you think.


When I was a kid we would wake up Christmas morning and rush downstairs to open our stockings. They were filled with sweets and things like cologne and a small inexpensive toy. What made it special was not the value of the contents of the stocking but the knowledge that my stocking would hold things like a giant candy cane, chocolate coins and an orange that were traditional gifts in my family.


How many times have you participated in a Secret Santa at work and received a gift that you either don’t need or already have at home? Why not find that unwanted gift a new home with someone that would appreciate it more? While I would never regift something that a relative or close friend gave to me, I have recycled a few Secret Santa gifts, shhhh don’t tell!


Setting a spending limit is such a simple idea and is a must if you are to avoid going in debt. My family does a grab bag gift exchange for the holidays and we set a spending limit to keep it manageable for everyone. One way to do this is to use last year’s holiday spending and set this as your starting point for the following year’s budget. In order to make sure you have the cash saved in time for the holiday shopping season, take last year’s spending and divide by 11. Why 11 you ask? This will give you the amount you need to set aside in a savings account each month January thru November so that you have the cash on hand come December.


Creating a budget or spending limit is the first step to avoid going in debt. The next step is to keep track of your spending. There are plenty of smartphone apps such as Mint or Xpenser to automatically track your spending for you. No smartphone? Don’t let that be an excuse for being in the dark about your spending habits. Paper and pencil work just fine. Keep a log with a running balance and enter each receipt as soon after your purchase as you can. Keep your spending log in your checkbook so you can update it as soon as you make a purchase and don’t forget to record purchase made by others in the household.


By planning ahead and making purchases during the off-season when savings are best you can stretch your holiday budget and avoid the need to use credit. The best time to buy holiday season items is right after the holidays when retailers are clearing their inventories to make room for other merchandise. You can save up to 75% by waiting until after the holidays to purchase those Christmas Lights or holiday decorations.

Bitcoin Trading Boom Is Bittersweet For Long-Time Traders

December 8th, 2013 No Comments   Posted in General Finance, Investment

NEW YORK — Kacper Cie?la kept wondering how long it would take for the police to knock on his door.

It had only been a few weeks since the 22-year-old programmer had first heard about Bitcoin in a computer hacker’s forum. Yet Cie?la had enthusiastically embraced the virtual currency, rigging four computers inside his Cracow, Poland, apartment to create the electronic coin out of thin air.

There was an unexpected downside, however, that Cie?la said he feared would draw unwanted attention from the law: Keeping the hardware on day and night was the heating equivalent to setting an electric oven to broil and running it non-stop. As his home began to heat up to uncomfortable levels and the needle on his electricity meter began turning at an alarming pace, Cie?la thought, the authorities would surely suspect him of operating an illegal marijuana greenhouse.

“I kept wondering when the police would come because I’ve heard that’s what’s usually happens with big power bills,” Cie?la said. “But it ended up without police intervention, or brain damage caused by too high a temperature.”

When he’s not at a day job coding for a French software company, Cie?la is an active participant in the rapidly expanding community behind Bitcoin. As an early buyer and trader of Bitcoin in late 2010, Cie?la has seen his holdings skyrocket in value over the past few weeks. But in spite of the financial windfall the current market conditions have created for him, Cie?la said he worries the market is overheating. The aftermath of a blowup that he expects to occur could forever tarnish the reputation of the currency, Cie?la said.

“I’m a bit worried that it will be more associated with a speculative bubble rather than the technology itself,” Cie?la said.

Before they were known for their parabolic rise in price -– having gone from trading near $20 in late February to a record $266 Wednesday –- bitcoins were the playthings of a tight-knit community mainly composed of software developers. Trading Bitcoin was about more than making potential profits, Cie?la said. It was about putting money into a project closely linked to anti-authoritarian and libertarian philosophies, “quite radical opinions” held by “some margin of people who have trust issues with government,” Cie?la said.

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